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Serena Williams leads tributes to Ash Barty after retirement announcement

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Current and former tennis greats have delivered a chorus of tributes to Australia’s Ash Barty after her shock move to retire from the game.

Barty stunned the tennis world on Wednesday with her announcement via social media that she was ending her career immediately, less than two months after winning the Australian Open title.

The three-time major winner will face the media to talk more about her decision in Brisbane at 1pm AEDT.

American tennis great Serena Williams — who is one of the few players on tour never to have lost to the Queenslander — took to social media to share her thoughts.

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“@ashbarty I can’t lie I was sad to read your decision but also happy for your new chapter,” she wrote on Twitter.

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“Always your fan close up and afar. Sending all my love.”

A more recent rival for Barty’s world number one ranking, Naomi Osaka, paid tribute to the Australian for her work ethic and the way she treated other players.

“This morning when I saw the news of Barty retiring, it made me quite sad,” Osaka said at the Miami Open tournament.

Former world number one Naomi Osaka says she admires Ash Barty for how nice she is to rivals, and for finishing her career with no regrets. (Getty Images / Icon Sportswire: Jason Heidrich)

“We’re not really … I can’t say we’re friends, more like workplace acquaintances, but I just really admired her for how hard she worked and just how nice she was to everyone.

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